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Once Upon a Winter's Heart, by Melody Carlson

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Melody Carlson, well-known for Christmas novellas and "true-to-life" fiction, releases Once Upon a Winter's Heart, January 7th with a story that sets a romantic mood and tone for Valentine's Day. It's a tale of conflict, loyalty and romance set in Seattle, played out against the backdrop of sibling rivalry, forgiveness and a grandparents old-fashioned book store. The story opens with Emma's decisive comment.

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"Romance is officially dead!" declares Emma to her roommate Lucy as she quickly adds lids to overflowing boxes and zips her bags closed ready to load in the Prius outside.

Her grandfather Poppi's death was the final reason to leave Seattle and her less than challenging job that had turned into nothing more than a paycheck. Not to mention the ten years of dating disasters that also left her disillusioned and ready to give up on love even though her grandfather always encouraged her to "follow her heart."

That hadn't turned out well so far. Now she wanted to leave all that behind and return home to care for her grandmother Nona who had taken care of Emma so much of her childhood while her career minded parents worked. Although Emma considered her grandparents the last of the romantics, her parents were the exact opposites, their marriage had been one fight after another for as long as Emma could remember.

As she bid her soon-to-be former roommate goodbye and drove onto the I-5 onramp Emma couldn't know the surprising guest she would find in her old room at her grandmother's house. Or that she would soon meet a tall dark stranger, be offered more work than she was prepared to do or that the family she thought she knew—she didn't know at all.

Join Emma in this quick read romance where she learns love isn't dead after all and that her grandfather's advice to "follow her heart," although risky, is more than worth the effort, in this well-done old-fashioned romance perfect for Valentine's Day.

Once Upon a Winter's Heart, by Melody Carlson, Center Street—Releases 1-7-2014, 160 Pages, 978-1455528110, $11.00

Midwest Book Reviews: Jan 2014 "Gail's Bookshelf"

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